Grassley Warns Trump Against Ousting Immigration Officials
Says "He's pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal."
At least one Republican Senator is unhappy with the chaos atop the Department of Homeland Security.
The most senior Senate Republican is warning the White House not to oust another top immigration official, making appeals to the administration against dismissing Lee Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, amid a purge of Homeland Security leaders.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he was ”very, very concerned” regarding reports that Cissna could be next in a series of rapid-fire DHS dismissals that began late last week when the White House suddenly pulled the nomination of Ronald Vitiello, who had been tapped as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“One, those are good public servants,” Grassley said Monday
evening,after rumors of Cissna’s potential exit percolated all day. ”Secondly, besides the personal connection I have with them and the qualifications they have, they are the intellectual basis for what the president wants to accomplish in immigration.”
Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary, submitted her resignation after meeting privately with Trump on Sunday, and the White House announced Monday that Randolph ”Tex” Alles, the director of Secret Service, would be leaving his position ”shortly.” Cissna and DHS’s general counsel, John Mitnick, could be the next to go, according to department officials.
Grassley had already worked closely with Cissna, who had been detailed from the administration to work on the Senate Judiciary Committee when the Iowa Republican served as its chairman. Other Grassley alumni hold senior positions at the citizenship agency, including Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, who is the chief of USCIS’s Office of Policy and Strategy.
“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.”WaPo, “Grassley warns White House not to oust any more top immigration officials”
While this seems to stem more from personal pique that people he’s worked with are being targeted, Grassley is surely right that this is a bizarre way for the President to reach his ostensible goals. Still, it’s his prerogative to oust appointed he perceives to be disloyal or ineffective.
Nor is it obvious that there’s an “or else” that comes with ignoring this warning. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, Grassley certainly has the tools to make life miserable for a White House that crosses him. But there’s nothing in the way he’s conducted himself these past two years to suggest that he’s going to actually do that.